FSR Race Preview – Round 8
The holiday’s are over in the FSR world, as this weekend’s race takes us to Spain, where Valencia returns to host the race after a year of absence from the FSR calendar. At the halfway point, Bono Huis has managed to establish a 67-point gap to his closest rival Morgan Morand, who in turn has scored 45 points more than third ranked Rasmus Tali. The situation behind the top 3 is however tight, as the next 8 drivers are differentiated by less than 20 points.
To follow the events live, tune in for Simrace.TV, starting with World Trophy at Saturday 13:30 GMT, followed by World Series at Saturday19:30 GMT and the FSR Thrustmaster World Championship on Sunday, starting at 15:30 GMT. Read the full preview for the expert analysis and remember to update your teams in the FSR Fantasy League.
Length: 5.44 km
Race distance: 57 laps / 310.08km
Number of corners: 25 (left: 13, right: 12)
Full throttle: 59%
Tyre wear: Medium
Engine wear: Medium
Brake wear: High
Lap record: Roy Kolbe 1:35.409 (2009)
2010 Bono Huis
2009 Jaakko Mikkonen
2008 Bruno Marques
The championship situation has been covered extensively in our previous chats, so let’s instead go straight into the Valencia race. What does this track offer the sim racer?
First of all, it has to be said that track architect Hermann Tilke is perhaps remembered better from his other creations, as the Valencia circuit provides nothing special to the driver, except for the street layout, which brings the walls closer to the corners. In the first two sectors the prevailing characteristics are formed by slow corners, which require precision from the driver and a good car to maximize the exit traction. Sector 3 features a fast corner complex, which the drivers enjoy more. The sector ends in a difficult braking section leading into the main straight, where a good lap can easily be ruined. Since the track surface is almost entirely flat, the car is set up with a very soft (rear) suspension, to maximize the traction for the exit zones.
The last few races have provided great battles between Bono Huis and Morgand Morand. How do you rate this race in terms of the entertainment aspect?
The races carried out in the past years here have provided plenty of entertainment and drama, so I see no reason why this trend would not continue. The difficulty of turn 1 approach must be highlighted, as the past FSR races have seen a couple of heavy collisions at the start. The track also provides enough straights to make overtaking possible, although not easy. One example of this took place in 2009, where a recovering Lee Morris collided with Rasmus Tali in a similar fashion as a couple of drivers in the real series in the final laps.
The last race at Hungaroring saw Bono Huis winning with a somewhat bizarre 6 stop strategy. Will this race continue the trend of increasing pit stop counts?
The race will no doubt see a handful of pit stops again, the main reason being the heavy rear tire wear. Since overtaking is possible, track position is not as important as at the Hungaroring. This will make the popular strategies align in the 4-5 stop range, for the soft tire compound. Once again, the pit stop in- and outlaps might well be race deciders. Especially the sharp pit entry is one of the more difficult ones and requires a well-executed braking. Finally, a strategical aspect that should not be forgotten is the track’s heavy brake wear, which has resulted in plenty of brake failures in the past Valencia races.
Finally, who are the favourites for this race?
Bono Huis is normally the master at this type of race track, but rumours say the championship leader has decided to take a short hiatus to recharge his batteries for the remaining season. The pace of Morgan Morand has only improved since his change of teams to GhostSpeed Racing; clearly the Frenchman is ready to return back to the middle of the podium, where he hasn’t been since the season opener at Melbourne.
From the remaining pack, Jaakko Mikkonen has certainly the best memories from this track, as the Finn took his maiden win for Precision here in 2009. Rasmus Tali will certainly challenge for top 3 again as GT Omega has demonstrated a strong form all season. Finally, I expect NetRex Grand Prix to return back to their beginning season form and score good points in this round.
1. Morgan Morand
2. Rasmus Tali
3. Jeffrey Rietveld
4. Georgo Baldi
5. Yannick Lapchin
6. Jim Parisis
7. Jaakko Mikkonen
8. Fredrik Nilsson
9. John-Eric Saxén
10. Peter Varga
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